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N Korea and its nuclear test: What next?

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North Korea conducted a sixth nuclear test on Sunday, and declared itself in command of a working hydrogen bomb just hours after the explosion.

Here are some key questions around the blast and the isolated state's nuclear program.

What kind of bomb was detonated?

North Korea said it had detonated a hydrogen bomb "of unprecedently big power" that can be loaded onto a long-range missile, a step forward that would dramatically escalate the threat it poses.

State media declared the test a complete success and said no radiation had leaked into the atmosphere.

Atomic or "A-bombs" work on the principle of nuclear fission, where energy is released by splitting atoms of enriched uranium or plutonium encased in the warhead.

Hydrogen or H-bombs, also known as thermonuclear weapons, work on fusion and are far more powerful, with a nuclear blast taking place first to create the intense temperatures required.

There was no immediate independent confirmation of the North's claim. But the blast was its most powerful to date by far and many experts said it had all the hallmarks of a hydrogen bomb.

Japan said it had deployed "sniffer" planes capable of detecting radioactive fallout which can give clues to the type of device detonated, although........

© Japan Today